Tuesday, November 13, 2007

MRF Leaders Report

MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)


Contact: Michael "Boz" Kerr, MRF Vice-President boz@mrf.org (e-mail)

Congressmen Filner, Kirk, Kuhl, Wamp and Walberg to attend MRF press conference

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation would like to announce that several members of the United States Congress will be attending our scheduled press conference in Washington on November 15.

The following congressman have committed to attending:

Congressman Bob Filner (CA-51st) Chairman, House Committee on Veterans Affairs

Congressman Mark Kirk (IL-10th) Committee on Appropriations

Congressman Randy Kuhl (NY-29th) Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-7th) Committee on Education and Labor

Congressman Zack Wamp (TN-3rd) Committee on Appropriations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation is extremely pleased to have this distinguished group of statesmen join us in discussing with the nation's press the shortcomings of the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations on motorcycle safety of September 11, 2007.

The press conference will be held on the United States Capitol grounds in Washington DC. The exact location is the Cannon House Office Building, Room 121. Starting time is 9:15 am EST.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation will also be discussing our efforts to seek congressional support to stop the NTSB from using taxpayer dollars to pressure states into enacting mandatory helmet laws. In addition we will be announcing to the press that we will be presenting a formal letter to the NTSB asking them to reconsider their recommendations that states enact mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle riders.

Many State Motorcyclist Rights Organization members are in Washington this week to lobby their own congressional delegations, in addition to attending the conference.

All motorcyclists are invited to attend this event. In addition the MRF is extending an invitation to all concerned Americans.

Michael Kerr

MRF Vice President

Monday, November 12, 2007

New Helmet Ticket Resources

These folks are taking the fight to the streets and are actively soliciting folks to fight all helmet tickets. Under North Carolina's new helmet law, all lids must meet FMVSS 218 and the first shot has been fired as you will see below.

To learn more visit

Special Deputy Attorney General
Motor Vehicles SectionNC Attorneys General Office

I was referred to the Motor Vehicles Section of the Attorneys General Office by Mikael Gross, Staff Attorney, Legislative Drafting Division for the NC Legislature.

I am a citizen and taxpayer, so it was disconcerting that, when I called this afternoon, two public servants in your office did not have the courtesy of providing their last names for the record, Michelle, and then Jeanette, who stated that they are not allowed to interpret statutes for the general public due to conflict of interest, since your office represents the DMV.

I asked to speak with anyone who is willing to provide their last name. Eventually, I was able to obtain your name and email address. I hope that you will not be as hostile, and instead, consider that it is extremely important for citizens to understand the laws which govern them.

It is my belief that, by making and enforcing the mandatory universal motorcycle helmet requirement associated with GS 20-140.4, both current and effective January 1, 2008, the State is not mindful of the constitutional requirement of the citizens right to due process. I have contacted many NC officials. So far, all officials have been unable to provide me with a satisfactory answer to the following questions:1. How can consumers and motorcycle operators ensure their helmets comply with FMVSS 218, which is a manufacturers self-certifying standard? 2. How will the statute be enforced without the use of subjective personal approval methods?

I hereby respectfully request written answers to my questions, including an opinion which either confirms or refutes my researched belief that the legislation is unconstitutional due to vagueness, based on such arguments as presented below, in communications with Mikael Gross, (see below). I intend to obey the laws of the State. You intend to enforce the laws. As such, I suspect you either know how you intend to enforce the statute, or you may also experience similar difficulty. If the GS 20-140.4 statute effective January 1, 2008 is written in such language that it cannot be understood without interpretation by the Honorable Judiciary, any refusal to tell citizens how the law will be enforced, speaks for itself, so please either honor this request or forward it to Attorney General Roy Cooper. I will need your response in a hard copy letter.

I have obtained access to a fax machine for incoming communications, in care of the offices of Full Throttle Magazine of the Carolinas, circulation between 30,000 to 40,000 motorcycle operators. Some motorcyclists are asking questions despite lack of notice by the State to make citizens aware of the pending modifications. If you require that I send my questions to you by US Postal Service in order to get a hard copy letter in response from you, please send me your mailing address. If not, please send a hard copy response to the address below.Sincerely,Janice MacKay1009 Lightfoot CtWake Forest, NC 27587

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Opponents of "Freedom of Choice"

Got Freedom? Not if these folks can help it!
Below are insurance companies and organizations that oppose freedom of choice for adult motorcyclists. Is YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY on this list? Any organizations you belong to?
If so, make your voice heard. Change insurance companies and tell the old one exactly why you are changing.

Taken from: Traffic Safety Facts; Laws; Motorcycle Helmet Use Laws April 2004
Who Supports Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws?
• Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
• Allstate Insurance Company
• American Academy of Family Physicians
• American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials • American Academy of Pediatrics • American Coalition for Traffic Safety, Inc.
• American College of Emergency Physicians • American College of Preventive Medicine • American College of Surgeons • American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association • American Insurance Association • American Medical Association • American Nurses Association • American Public Health Association • American Trauma Society • Association of Women"s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nurses • Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine • Brain Injury Association • Center for Rural Emergency Medicine • Emergency Nurses Association • Emergency Nurses CARE • Epilepsy Foundation of America • GEICO • General Federation of Women"s Clubs • Indian Health Service • Motorcycle Industry Council • National Association of County and City Health Officials • National Association of Orthopedic Nurses • National Association of Public Hospitals • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians • National Association of State EMS Directors • National Association of State Head Injury Administrators • National Center for Injury Prevention and Control • National Conference of Black Mayors • National Flight Nurses Association • National Safety Council • National Sheriffs Association • Nationwide Insurance • Native American Injury Prevention Coalition • Prudential Insurance • State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association • Students Against Destructive Decisions • State Farm Insurance • Think First Foundation • Wellness Councils of America

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lobbying DC for Biker's Rights

Tuesday October 23rd dawned with a heavy rain across Middle Tennessee and the prospect of rain for days. The MRF had issued a call to action for bikers from across the nation to come to DC and meet with Congressmen and Senators regarding the recent short sighted NTSB recommendations of mandatory helmet laws for all states and, while there, to ask for sponsorship of the HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Corrections Act. I had just spent a lot of time making appointments with the Tennessee Congressional delegation and the trip was set!

It’s about 600 miles to DC from Nolensville and after picking up my lady Carol at 2PM, we set off for an all night drive, arriving at my brother’s place on Capitol Hill around 3AM. Straight to bed for a few hours then time to start making the rounds.

Jeff Hennie, VP of Government Relations and Lobbyist for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation was waiting for us at our first meeting with TN Congressman Zack Wamp. After a few minutes of small talk we got down to the business at hand and garnered a new co-sponsor for the HIPAA bill.

Next stop was Senator Corker’s office and a meeting with his staff. As is often the case, a planned meeting with a Congressman or Senator changes to a sit down with staff as votes are called on the floor of the House or Senate and this was the case here. The staff are often the key to making sure an issue gets the attention it deserves and we were pleased to meet with the Senator’s Transportation assistant. With so many issues in play at any given time in DC, these staffers are the engine that keeps the wheels turning and the legislators informed.

Senator Lamar Alexander’s office was next and with more votes on the Senate Floor we once again met with staff. While waiting, we were surprised to see recent Nashville Mayoral candidate Bob Clement come in for a meeting with other staffers. From there we hoofed it back over to the House office buildings where we took a quick lunch break before heading off to a meeting with Congressman John Duncan’s staff and the transportation assistant for Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis. It seems Wednesday in DC is a lot like Wednesday in the Tennessee Legislature, the busiest day of the week. The final stop of the day was with Congressman David Davis. He, too, was in the middle of a floor vote so we met with staff then we were escorted by TN State Rep Matt Hill’s brother Timothy to the Rayburn room in the Capitol and a quick photo op with the Congressman.

A quick cab ride had me back in the comfortable surroundings of my brother’s place. There’s nothing quite like having family 12 blocks from the Capitol. We enjoyed a nice evening of dinner, drinks and great conversation with my brother, his wife and Carol’s friend Howard Segermark, an early leader in the history of the MRF who has known my brother and his wife for over 40 years. Sometimes it really is a small world.

After a good seven hours of sleep it was time to hit the concrete again and Thursday morning’s first meeting was with none other than TN Congressman Jim Cooper, the same guy who introduced a national mandatory helmet billwhich became law in the early 1990’s only to see it go down in flames as bikers from across the country lobbied Washington to repeal that law and were successful in 1995.

Jeff Hennie had a conflicting meeting so I handled this one solo. Congressman Cooper was quite receptive to the issues and promised full consideration. He also took the opportunity to defend his position on helmets but took the time to listen to the other side of the story. I believe we opened a new line of communication that may be effective when we deal with the various issues bikers will face in the coming years. My impression is that Jim Cooper won’t be sponsoring any new helmet legislation in the near future.

With a short break in the schedule, I set off to see the Library of Congress and I highly recommend the tour for anyone visiting DC. Next up was my Congressman and current HIPAA bill co-sponsor Marsha Blackburn. After meeting with her Transportation aide we got a quick picture just as Tennessee State Senator Jim Tracy arrived in Marsha’s office. I’m not sure who was more surprised to see the other in DC, me or him. Senator Tracy is a long time supporter of our “Tennessee Freedom” efforts.

A quick meeting with John Duncan’s Transportation aide and a friendly sit down with Congressman Bart Gordon, also a HIPAA co-sponsor thanks to the effort of CMT/ABATE’s Robert “Johann” Forbus, concluded a great couple of days visiting the Tennessee delegation and building relationships that hopefully will serve us well in the future.

By the time it was all said and done my dogs were barking from all the walking but I felt like much was accomplished. I urge all freedom fighters to make the trip and help secure freedom and a safer riding environment for future generations of motorcyclists.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

MI Legislaure PAsses Hemet Bill -Veto Proof?

Motorcycle-helmet bill passes Senate; faces Granholm veto By Amy Lane

Legislation that would allow some motorcyclists to ride without helmets has passed the Senate, after clearing the state House last week.

The Senate on Thursday approved House Bill 4749, sponsored by Barbara Farrah, D-Southgate. The bill would give riders over 21 the option of going helmetless if they pay an annual state permit fee and meet other requirements.

The measure calls for riders to purchase a $100, one-year permit or a $200, three-year permit. They must carry at least $20,000 in insurance to pay first-party medical benefits in the event of an accident, have been licensed for at least two years to operate a motorcycle, and have completed a motorcycle safety course. Riders who do not purchase a permit and ride without helmets face a fine of up to $300. The Senate amended the bill to put money raised by the new permit fees toward a greater number of law-enforcement purposes than previously listed in the bill, and the bill now returns to the House.The legislation appears unlikely to see approval by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who supports the state’s current helmet law and has vetoed past helmet-law repeal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation236 Massachusetts Ave. NESuite 510Washington, DC 20002-4980202-546-0983 (voice)202-546-0986 (fax)http://www.mrf.org (website)
Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relationsjeff@mrf.org (e-mail)
We Need You In DC!
If you are thinking of taking the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) up on our suggestion to have your State Motorcyclists' Rights Organization (SMRO) make the trip to DC to meet with your members of the House and Senate regarding the recent recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board, please do so prior to November 16th. That's the last day that Congress will likely be in session, barring a few possible days in late December to do some last minute house cleaning before the Holiday break. Please contact the MRF's DC office for further information.

New Guy at NHTSA
James Ports rides a motorcycle. He is also a former member of the Maryland State Legislature and a former Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT) official. He has earned the support and respect of ABATE of Maryland leadership, and he just happens to be the new Deputy Administrator for the US DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mr. Ports took some time out of his busy schedule recently to sit down with the MRF and ABATE of MD in his spacious new office. At this meeting, which was mainly a meet and greet, Deputy Administrator Ports pledged his support of motorcycling and agreed to work with the MRF as much as he can. NHTSA just continued its recent trend of becoming more motorcycle friendly. Maybe Mr. Ports, whose job is only guaranteed as long Mr. Bush occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, can get a new gig at the National Transportation Safety Board when this one runs it course. That's probably not likely though. Either way he has the support and respect of the MRF.

Thanks to the Mountain State!
ABATE of WV recently made a trip to DC to lobby their members of the House and Senate. The Capitol Hill newbies (it was the first time lobbying DC for the group) put together a first-rate trip and had appointments with every member of the WV delegation. The three-person lobby team allowed the MRF to join them in all of their meetings. It was a successful day to say the least. The high point was meeting with the senior senator from WV, Robert Byrd. Senator Byrd has the distinction of being one of the longest serving Senators in history. He is currently the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, which puts him third in line to the Presidency should something happen to the VP and the Speaker of the House. Senator Byrd welcomed us into his palatial office suite in the Capitol, got up from his lunch of a cheese sandwich and a pickle (this guy is as humble as they come) and chatted about motorcycles for more than a few minutes. Senator Byrd has served West Virginia for over 50 years and has done the mountain state proud. Say what you will about his politics, but he has created a legacy that will stand for decades to come. Keep up the good work Senator and let the MRF know when you are ready for that motorcycle ride. Look for pictures of this meeting in the next issue of the MRF REPORTS.
Motorcycle Vehicle Miles Traveled
Last week the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) held a unique event, the Motorcycle Travel Symposium, a three-day meeting aimed at improving the data used to calculate motorcycle vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

VMT numbers are used to calculate a number of transportation data points. Most noteworthy is the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) used by NHTSA to determine the percentage of fatality rates per miles traveled by any given mode of transportation. Good data is important here because if the number of actual miles traveled is not accurate, then it makes that particular form of transportation appear deadlier than it really may be. You can listen to a detailed presentation on how motorcycle VMT numbers affect FARS data by visiting the archives of the MRF's 2005 Meeting of the Minds at http://www.inbradio.com/media/archives/mrf/motm2005.html.

Up until now it has been optional for states to report any VMT for motorcycles, but that has changed. Starting in June 2008, motorcycle data is no longer optional for states to report to the feds. Remember hearing that no motorcycles travel in South Dakota? The MRF and SMROs have questioned the inaccuracy of motorcycle VMT numbers for several years, and the feds have finally put a stop to that nonsense. You can read more about the MRF's research into motorcycle VMT numbers on the MRF's website at http://www.mrf.org/articles/2005/05NR2105nr21nomotorcyclestravelinsouthdakota.htm.
So why did the FHWA need to have a three-day meeting to address this issue? What is the real problem with collecting accurate VMT numbers for motorcycles? Apparently everything. Let's start with the technological issues. The actual technology used to collect data was designed for cars and trucks, not motorcycles. The small signature of motorcycles is difficult to capture using the tube or hose capture methods. Often times the tubes are only stretched across half a lane giving ample room for the motorcycle to simply go around the foreign object in the road. Some of the newer laser technology may be promising, but it's expensive and easily thrown off calibration by weeds, snow or curious animals. Some of the video collection technology shows some promise, but it too is expensive and difficult to maintain. With dwindling money at state DOTs, new purchases of pricey video cameras and lasers just is not a widespread option.
Then there's the human factor. It is common knowledge that a large number of motorcyclists spend more time on the road from Friday to Sunday. This intuition is backed up by the National Household Transportation Survey, a phone study conducted by the feds that surveys 20,000 plus households on their respective travel habits. Questions include what type of vehicles you own, when and where are you using those vehicles, how many licensed drivers are under your roof, and so on. This study reported that almost 40 percent of all motorcycle travel occurs on the weekends. That becomes a problem because most of the state employees hired to physically collect the data only work Monday through Thursday, so any weekend travel goes unmonitored. Seasons also skew the data, for most northern states see very few motorcycles during winter months and the state DOTs don't adjust for that.

Another major problem is where the VMT data is collected. Most of the states collect data on roads that see the most use by cars and trucks. Think of major interstates, multilane highways and other heavily traveled roads, bridges and tunnels. Now think of where most motorcycle rides occur, on back roads, scenic byways and other out-of-the-way streets. Most motorcyclists purposefully avoid the heavy congestion of an urban environment in favor of lesser-traveled roads with less heavy truck traffic. The statistic commonly used by the states is that they survey just 23% of the roads and leave the other 77% that are generally the responsibility of smaller entities such as townships and villages alone. That's a major discrepancy and a fatal flaw of the VMT data for motorcycles.

It's refreshing, to say the least, that the federal government is finally taking a good hard look at the validity of the motorcycle VMT data. Now the hard part, committing precious resources toward improving the data collection. Simply mandating that the data be reported next year will not automatically ensure accurate numbers, and some argue just the opposite. Now that the states have to do more with the same amount of resources, it may have the effect of fictitious numbers reported just to comply with another federal directive. A lot of serious research is occurring, but until that research is easily translatable to real world situations it's doubtful that the VMT numbers for motorcycles will be believable. Much work remains, but this is with out question a tremendous step forward, and the MRF will continue to monitor and report any progress.

Headed to DC

Next Wednesday and Thurday I will be in DC to lobby the entire TN delegation regarding the HIPAA Recreational Injury Technical Corrections Act and the recent NTSB recommendation that all states implement mandatory helmet laws.

YOU CAN HELP.... call your US Congressman and both US Senators from TN and ask for their support on the HIPAA bill, HR 1076 and that the single minded approach to motorcycle safety presented by the NTSB is not the silver bullet for saving lives.

House http://www.house.gov/
Senate http://www.senate.gov/

I will post the results of the visit on my return October 29.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CMT/ABATE at Meeting of the Minds 2007

Mike Hays Accepts AMA Award
Carol SImpson Accepts MRF PAC Award

MRF Call to Action RE: NTSB


For the past several weeks the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has been actively working on a multi-tiered strategic initiative to counter the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) program to pressure states into enacting mandatory helmet laws. We are prepared today to launch the program beginning with a Call to Action to our State Motorcycle Rights Organizations (SMROs).

The MRF's Call to Action is to encourage our SMRO partners to send their top lobbying teams to Washington D.C. in late October and early November to visit with their members of Congress to voice opposition to the NTSB's lobbying efforts. It is our position that the NTSB is proposing to directly lobby the states with federal tax money based on poorly-drawn conclusions, using a very narrow scope, and not employing the rigors of research to which they normally hold themselves. This is simply not acceptable to the MRF and our SMRO partners. A clear message was sent by the Senate in the 109th Congress when they voted 69-28 to defeat the Lautenberg Federal Helmet amendment, which would have pressured states into passing mandatory helmet laws, based on the fact that this issue is clearly a State's rights issue. Accordingly, we will be asking members of Congress to write a letter to the NTSB reminding them of this fact.

During these SMRO visits we will also be presenting a bullet point statistical fact sheet developed in conjunction with the MRF Legislative, Motorcycle Safety, and Statistics Committees that clearly shows that the answer to motorcycle safety and reducing fatalities is, in fact, an aggressive approach toward CRASH AVOIDANCE and NOT safer crashing. In addition, we will be educating members of Congress on the many points contained in our Motorcycle Safety Action Plan, pointing out to them that states with the highest reductions in motorcycle fatalities and states with low fatality rates per registered motorcycle are not those with mandatory helmet laws, but rather states that utilize the many tools in the motorcycle safety action plan. Additionally, we will thank many of them for their belief in motorcycle safety shown by the creation of the 2010 motorcycle safety grants and the creation of the Motorcycle Advisory Council in TEA-LU. We will take advantage of this time to inform them as to how these programs are being used effectively.

The second phase of the MRF's strategic initiative involves the MRF holding a press conference in the first week of November in one of the office buildings of the United States House of Representatives in Washington, DC. The press conference will feature a prominent member of Congress. Expect another Call to Action encouraging our members, our SMRO partners, motorcyclists in general and other concerned citizens to attend.
At that time we will be issuing a formal letter to the Chairman of the NTSB asking him to reconsider their proposed lobbying of the states and asking that he consider the statistical facts related to our Motorcycle Safety Action Plan and its effectiveness with regard to Crash Avoidance and NOT Safer Crashing as the goal.

For strategic reasons, third phase of our initiative will be announced once we complete the necessary research and sufficient discussions have taken place. We will go on record, however, as stating that we will not rule out asking Congress to take action against the NTSB, as we have done with NHTSA in the past, should they continue to ignore the spirit of previous congressional mandates against federal agencies lobbying states on mandatory helmet laws.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Harley's Worst Nightmare?

Harley Davidson's Worse Nightmare?


Harley Davidson's Worst Nightmare? The Electric Motorcycle by Guest Blogger, October 06, 2007 Our Guest Blogger, George Delozier, is from Pennsylvania and recently joined the U.S. Air Force. Growing up with all types of machines, George wanted to share the newest innovations on all things motor with the readers of InventorSpot.com.

Here's his article:

* * * * *

As a nation shifts toward more fuel efficient cars, will the motorcycle industry be able to keep up? With recent improvements in battery technology, companies are now producing electric-cycles. They carry the same qualities and benefits of an electric car, but can they deliver the same exhilaration and sense of freedom we are used to? Some companies think so.

Motorcycles get extremely high gas mileage, that is undeniable. However, they also lack emission controlling components, which makes them produce more pollution by most larger Sport Utility Vehicles by an astonishing 95%. Even though most are getting upward of 50 miles for every gallon of fuel, this comes at the price of clean air. Switching to an electric powered motorcycle would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it would also be cut into the demand for oil in the US.

Electric motorcycles are practical today because of advances in battery technology. The traditional Lead-acid batteries, are very heavy, do not provide adequate range, and tend to last for only a couple of years, making the idea of an electric vehicle impossible. With the creation of the nickel metal hydride and the lithium-ion batteries, all that has changed. These batteries are lighter, and can last up to 10 years. They have become more durable and a lot more versatile.

Currently, there are only a few companies offering these electric powered motorcycles, one of which is Vectrix of Newport, Rhode Island. They offer the fastest to date clocking in at 65 mph. This can be improved by reducing gear-ratios which has been the topic of discussion with Vectrix. Costing only $11,000, it is also highly affordable to most of our the Nation and with no annual fuel purchases, cheap to run and easy to maintain.

These motorcycles are also becoming popular with the sport-bike world as well. In Scotts Valley, CA, a company known as Zero Motorcycles offers an off-road motorcycle capable of a jump in excess of 20 meters. There are plans to feature it on the X-Games in the coming months. They plan to release a street version soon. Electric power has also made its debut in drag racing. A123 Systems, of Watertown, MA currently holds the record for the fastest electric drag-racing motorcycle finishing the quarter mile in 8.17 seconds and reaching 156 miles per hour.

Will this be the end of our loud cruisers and our quick crotch-rockets? Only time will tell, but one this is for sure, electric power is the new and upcoming movement in new-age power. This may be the alternative that the world has been searching for since the realization that using fossil fuels was outdated, but will avid riders be ready for the change?

Sources: TechnologyReview and Gizmag

George Delozier Guest Blogger InventorSpot.com

Friday, October 5, 2007

Motorcycle Awareness PSA

New Video - Motorcycle Awareness by the AMA

Thursday, October 4, 2007

US House Forms MC Caucus


Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations jeff@mrf.org (e-mail)

U.S. House of Representatives Forms Motorcycle Safety Caucus

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) has learned that the U.S. House of Representatives recently formed the first official motorcycle safety caucus. The group is open to all sitting U.S. Representatives and will focus only on motorcycle safety, and more specifically what Congress can do to support motorcycle safety.

The caucus does not have any funding from the government, nor does it have office space, official staff or anything else designated for official committees of Congress. In other words, this group was created simply because the co-chairs thought it was time to address this important issue and dedicate precious staff time toward the cause. The caucus is co-chaired by Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Michael Burgess (R-TX). Mrs.
Giffords is a freshman member of Congress and an avid motorcyclist herself. Mr. Burgess is a longtime supporter of motorcyclists, most notably as one of the lead sponsors on the legislation to close the discriminatory HIPAA loophole (HR 1076).

Congressman Burgess had this to say about his role with the group, "As co-chair of this first of its kind caucus, I look forward to working with motorcyclists across the country as we address important motorcycle safety, education and awareness issues."

"We are pleased that Congress is searching for ways to assist the organizations like the MRF and motorcyclists nationwide in continuing to improve motorcycle safety and awareness," said Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice President of Government Relations. "All of the motorcyclists of this country owe the co-chairs of this important new caucus a debt of gratitude for drawing attention to these important issues, and the MRF looks forward to working with them."

This isn't the first time Congress has addressed motorcycle safety. The most recent highway bill, SAFE-TEA-LU (PL 109-59), contained a generous 4-year / $25 million grant program, as well as funding for a comprehensive motorcycle crash causation study. The grant program, initially authored by the MRF and state motorcyclists' rights organizations across the country, is the first of its kind in history. The crash study is a follow up to the Hurt report, a 27-year-old study named for its author.

Congresswoman Giffords went on the record as a serious motorcyclist saying, "I have enjoyed riding motorcycles for many years. One day, I hope to fulfill my dream of going by motorcycle to Argentina. Those of us who ride know that it is an incredibly enjoyable way to travel." She continued, "We know from national studies that in almost two-thirds of fatal car/motorcycle crashes, the fault was with the driver of the car.
We can do more to address this critical problem, and public education is a key to bringing about awareness and a reduction in such accidents."

Please connect with your U.S. Representative and ask him/her to join the motorcycle safety caucus today. They can officially join by contacting either of the co-chairs' Washington DC offices.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

CMT/ABATE Response to NTSB


Contact: Mike Hays, 615 469-2567

CMT/ABATE Response to NTSB Helmet Law Recommendations

On September 11, 2007, the NTSB issued the “most wanted” list of safety improvements, including calling for mandatory helmet laws for all motorcyclists in all states. Just hours later the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) released a supporting position.

President Judith Lee Stone says “The single most effective measure to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities is the use of a helmet”. She goes on to say “Critics of helmet laws cite motorcycle education programs as the answer. However, there is no scientific evidence that motorcycle rider training reduces crash risk and is an adequate substitute for an all-rider helmet law.”

Mike Hays, Legislative Director for CMT/ABATE encourages closer examination of the facts. “One look at the states with the lowest fatality rates will show a direct correlation between outstanding rider education programs, motorist awareness campaigns and lower fatality rates. The NTSB, AHAS and others would have you believe the helmet is the silver bullet to stop the carnage of motorcyclists. Those who actually ride know better!”
The NTSB has investigated 124,000 aviation crashes, 10,000 surface transportation crashes (including rail, pipeline and mass transit) and, get ready for this, a whopping six motorcycle crashes. That's a half dozen motorcycle investigations over the past 40 years or just .15 motorcycle crashes a year to put it in government statistic speak.

--The three states with the lowest fatality rates in the country per 10,000 registered motorcycles: Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, do not have mandatory adult helmet laws.

--Of the ten states with the highest fatality rates per 10,000 registered motorcycles, seven of them have universal helmet laws.

--Since Louisiana reinstated their helmet law in 2004, fatalities in that state have climbed to the highest levels in that state's history.

The NTSB has missed a giant opportunity to make a real contribution to the safety of America’s motorcyclists. They failed miserably. Crash avoidance, not safer crashing, is what really saves lives. The only thing a call for mandatory helmets does is obscure the underlying problems and give these “safety” organizations more reason to justify their very existence.

CMT/ABATE State Director Tom Quaranto says “No one is more concerned about motorcycle safety than riders. Listen to us!”

CMT/ABATE, Inc. is a non-profit, political organization that was formed to preserve freedom and safety for all Tennesseans who enjoy motorcycling. Our major goals are to modify existing laws that are detrimental to motorcycle safety and enjoyment, and to enact new legislation in support of all motorcyclists who ride in Tennessee.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

PA's Response to NTSB


On 9-11 the NTSB issued recommendations to states to require all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear Department of Transportation federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) 218-compliant helmets.

A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania, the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education, has expressed their opposition to the NTSB safety recommendations. Accident prevention saves lives, not federal mandates. Greater penalties for right-of-way violations and stricter laws for inattentive driving would be more effective. Motorist need to pay greater attention to the action of driving. Being behind a wheel of an automobile is NO time to multi-task.

Pennsylvania already has a helmet law. The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 259 in 2003. That legislation modified the existing mandatory motorcycle helmet law to provide qualified adult motorcycle operators and passengers with the option to decide what is best for themselves. Pennsylvania Senators and Representatives supported a minimum of two year riding experience or successful completion of an approved motorcycle rider education program as condition for optional helmet use by motorcycle operators 21 years of age or older.

While the law does allow freedom of choice in the use of helmets it also contains safeguards for those not yet trained or skilled enough to make an informed decision on helmet safety. Enactment of the freedom of choice bill on helmets represents what our founding fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution….that government works best with the consent of the governed.

Facts not fiction…

Since the helmet modification Pennsylvania has experienced a sharp rise in motorcycle sales and a dramatic increase in biker tourism. In 2003 there were 263,696 registered motorcycles. In 2006 that number increased to 335,720. In 2005 there were 205 motorcycle fatalities.

In 2006 the fatality rate decreased to 187.

Between 2000 (before helmets were made optional) and 2005 (after), motorcycle registrations in Pennsylvania increased 48.3%. Fatalities in motorcycle crashes also increased, but only 36%.

A study by the State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee in 2006 found an 8.6% decrease in motorcycle fatalities, per 10,000 registrations, from 2000 to 2005.

Most motorcycle fatalities in 2005 involved bikers who wore helmets. Only 42.6% involved known non-helmeted motorcyclists, and the report does not say what portion of them died of something other than head trauma.

Conclusion: The NTSB implies in its recommendation that thirty state governments have somehow "got it wrong" when it comes to the validity of universal mandatory helmet laws. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most of these states have had, at one time or another, a universal mandatory helmet law, yet considered the results and modified their laws accordingly.

A.B.A.T.E. of PA believes that state legislators have more intelligence than the NTSB gives them credit for. A.B.A.T.E. of Pennsylvania states, “Nothing illustrates individual freedom more than bare-headed bikers, and many federal authorities detest freedom. We believe they will do anything to suppress it. “ The NTSB reached its recommendations with little or no input from the motorcycle community. This is just another incident of bureaucrats in Washington trying to ram regulations down the throats of all fifty states. We’ll have none of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hospitals Kill Over 100,000 Patients Yearly

Hey Docs, nurses, et al... before you come after the bikers who want freedom of choice, maybe you should clean up your own house! Hospitals cause over 100 times the deaths that supposedly couild be saved if all bikers wore helmets, and we don't accept NTSB or NHTSA's numbers on that!

New Medicare Regulations Adopted to Reduce Certain Hospital Infections and Medical ErrorsMedicare Will Withhold Payments To Hospitals For Failing To Keep Patients

SafeWASHINGTON, D.C. – Under new Medicare regulations, hospitals will no longer receive higher payments for the additional costs associated with treating patients for certain hospital-acquired infections and medical errors. The new rules will give hospitals a powerful new incentive to improve patient care, according to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.“Every year, millions of Americans suffer needlessly from preventable hospital infections and medical errors,” said Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Stop Hospital Infection’s campaign (http://www.stophospitalinfections.org/).

“These new rules are a good beginning for Medicare to use its clout to mobilize hospitals to improve care and keep patients safe.”Under the rules adopted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), payments will be withheld from hospitals for care associated with treating certain catheter-associated urinary tract infections, vascular catheter-associated infections, mediastinitis after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, and five other medical errors unrelated to infections (bed sores, objects left in patients’ bodies, blood incompatibility, air embolism, and falls).

The new rules will go into effect in October 2008.To comply with a 2005 law passed by Congress, CMS evaluated a number of serious, preventable health care acquired conditions and identified these eight for the first round of non-payment due to the high volume of patients affected, the high cost of treating patients, and the existence of prevention guidelines. The agency intends to consider other hospital acquired infections and medical errors for non-payment in future years.

The new Medicare regulations include protections to prevent hospitals from billing patients when payments are withheld and to minimize avoidance of patients perceived to be at risk for infections. “We are pleased that the rules clearly state that hospitals cannot bill patients for the amount that Medicare refuses to pay,” said McGiffert. “CMS will need to make sure these protections are enforced so patients are treated fairly. And the agency should be on the lookout for hospitals that try to game the system by falsifying codes to avoid nonpayment.”Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are the most common infection developed by patients in hospitals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that there are 561,667 catheter-associated urinary tract infections per year. According to a study in the American Journal of Medicine, the annual cost of urinary tract infections in hospitals is as much as $451 million.Bloodstream infections are high in volume and cost, and are preventable.

The CDC has reported that there are 248,678 cases of central line associated bloodstream infections every year. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement estimates that approximately 14,000 people die every year from central line-related bloodstream infections.CMS failed to address the incidence of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a virulent antibiotic resistant bacterium.

According to CMS, over 95,000 Medicare patients had MRSA infections in 2005, running up hospital charges of almost $3 billion. MRSA was not selected for nonpayment because of coding issues and because CMS does “not believe there is a consensus among public health experts that MRSA [infection] is preventable.”“CMS needs to take strong action to curb the spread of this powerful superbug,” said McGiffert. “Many hospitals do not share the attitude that MRSA infections cannot be prevented and CMS should be on the front lines with them fighting this deadly and costly problem.”

Hospital acquired infections are a leading cause of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 2 million patients suffer from hospital infections every year and nearly 100,000 of them die.

Research shows that hospitals could prevent many infections through stricter adherence to proven infection control practices.The financial costs associated with hospital infections are equally staggering. Dr. John A. Jernigan, Chief of Interventions and Evaluations at the CDC, has said that hospital acquired infections result in up to $27.5 billion in additional health care expenses annually. Medicare foots the bill for a big portion of infection-related health care costs. A 2005 report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council found that Medicare was billed for 67 percent of the total number of patient infections reported by the state’s hospitals.

“Taxpayers spend billions of dollars every year covering the cost of patient infections,” said McGiffert. “Restricting Medicare payments for medical errors like patient infections will help ensure that the health care taxpayers pay for is safe and effective.”A copy of the new CMS regulations can be found here (begin at page 290):http://www.cms.hhs.gov/AcuteInpatientPPS/downloads/CMS-1533-FC.pdf

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

CMT/ABATE Wins Awards at Meeting of the Minds


Tennessee Motorcyclist’s Rights Group Wins Legislative Awards
Honored by Motorcycle Riders Foundation and American Motorcyclists Association

CMT/ABATE, Tennessee’s State Motorcyclist’s Rights Organization was honored by the MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation) and the AMA (American Motorcyclists Association) at the recent MRF Meeting of the Minds in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The MRF presented a “State Legislative Award” to CMT/ABATE’s Legislative Director, Mike Hays, for the organization’s work in protecting the rights of parents to determine the age at which a child is allowed to ride as a passenger on motorcycles. This was the second year in succession that Tennessee legislators brought bills to restrict children under a certain age from being a passenger on a motorcycle and the second year these bills have died even before a committee hearing.

The AMA recognized CMT/ABATE for it’s initiation of and success in getting right of way violation legislation (HR 1335 and SB794) passed by the Tennessee General Assembly. These bills were signed into law and became affective July 1, 2007 and increase the penalties for drivers who violate another’s right of way and cause serious injury or death in a collision. Tennessee law now calls for substantially higher financial penalties and up to a one year loss of license for violators. The bill was consistent with the AMA’s “Justice for All” campaign.

CMT/ABATE, Inc. is a non-profit, political organization that was formed to preserve freedom and safety for all Tennesseans who enjoy motorcycling. Our major goals are to modify existing laws that are detrimental to motorcycle safety and enjoyment, and to enact new legislation in support of all motorcyclists who ride in Tennessee. If you are concerned about preserving personal freedom and motorcycle safety,

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Response to NTSB "Motorcycle Safety Report"

CMT/ABATE Response to NTSB Mandatory Helmet Recommendation

For those who haven’t heard, the NTSB held a dog and pony show on September 11, supposedly to address motorcycle safety. The ONLY thing really addressed was helmet use, as if that is the silver bullet that will save all motorcyclists from impending death.

The problem as we see it is not helmets! Many factors need to be considered when looking at deaths and injury stats, not the least of which are the huge numbers of increased registrations, lack of training, sober riding and most of all, driver distraction. Over 50% of fatalities are caused by a car or truck violating the right of way of motorcyclists.

The NTSB says helmets are 16 percent effective in saving us from ourselves. THAT, my friends, is typical government baloney. The FACT is, helmets are 84 percent INEFFECTIVE! There is also enough evidence, like declining injury trends over the last 7 years that show helmets are not the answer. Furthermore, a recent report by NHTSA actually shows that many states without helmet laws have much lower fatality to accident ratios than states like Tennessee with mandatory use requirements.

Folks, IT IS NOT about helmets for those opposed to freedom. One look at the organizations like AHAS and III, which both released statements supporting NTSB’s recommendations, and you’ll see they are funded and supported by the insurance industry, the same folks who would love to see motorcycles banned from our highways.

Anyone hoping to be riding several years from now needs to wake up and step up by supporting organizations like the MRF, AMA and CMT/ABATE. These organizations and many others will continue the fight to protect your right to ride!

Keep up to date with the government’s attempts to legislate motorcycling at www.cmtabate.blogspot.com or www.cmtabate.com

Feel free to contact Legislative Director Mike Hays legislative at cmtabate.com (at=@)

Friday, September 14, 2007

CMT/ABATE Legislative Retreat


October 20, 2007
11AM Until…

2226 Rocky Springs Rd
Nolensville, TN 37135

Join fellow CMT/ABATE members, guest legislators and others for a day of brainstorming and planning for the upcoming legislative session. We are 75% of the way to having freedom of choice in Tennessee.




RSVP: Mike Hays 615 469-2567

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Safety Nannies Coming on Strong

MRF E-MAIL NEWS Motorcycle Riders Foundation
236 Massachusetts Ave. NE
Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002-4980
202-546-0983 (voice)
202-546-0986 (fax)
http://www.mrf.org (website)

Contact: Boz Kerr, MRF Vice-President
boz@mrf.org (e-mail)
Motorcycle Riders Foundation Opposes NTSB Helmet Law Recommendations

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) would like to express extreme disappointment with the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendations on motorcycle safety, which they issued at their public meeting on September 11, 2007.

The NTSB's recommendations may have as well have been copied directly from a 1960's era federal bureaucratic handbook.

Vice President of Government Relations Jeff Hennie had this to say initially on the report: "A few things you should know. NTSB recommended that the three states that do not have helmet laws (IL, IA and NH) should enact universal helmet laws. Also, they recommended that the states that have modified laws enact universal laws."
Since the NTSB issued their safety recommendations, our Washington office has been deluged with requests for comments. Jeff Hennie has given interviews to major media outlets such as NBC News and CNN just to name a few. Jeff is giving priority to handling such requests. He will be issuing a detailed statement concerning the NTSB recommendations soon.

Our State Motorcyclist Rights Organization partners report giving interviews to the New York Times and the Associated Press.

Rest assured that the Motorcycle Riders Foundation will be working everyday to see that the NTSB recommendations on mandatory helmet laws do not become a reality.

The NTSB had this to say on helmet laws:
"To the three states without motorcycle helmet laws:
Require that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding (operating), or as a passenger on any motorcycle.

To the 27 states and 1 territory with partial helmet laws: Amend current laws to require that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding (operating), or as a passenger on any motorcycle.

To the 8 states, the District of Columbia, and the 4 territories that have universal motorcycle helmet laws but do not specifically require FMVSS 218-compliant helmets: Amend current laws to specify that all persons shall wear a Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218-compliant motorcycle helmet while riding (operating), or as a passenger on any motorcycle."

The full list of NTSB recommendations may be obtained at:

Michael Kerr
MRF Vice President

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bikes Blues & BBQ

Below is an article on the Bikes Blues & BBQ motorcycle rally in Fayetteville, AR which attracts around 300,000 visitors over 4 days. The year before they repealed the helmet law in Arkansas they had a few hundred people attend, look at it NOW!

The biggest event in Tennessee for 2007 was likely the HOG National Rally in KNoxville, drawing maybe 30,000 for a one time event. The Honda Hoot brings in about 15K for the weekend. Add all the Tennessee rallies together and you won't get 300K attendance combined.

What kind of economic impact is 300K? ON the conservative side we'll say each biker spends $200, that makes about $60 million being spent, and like I say, that's real conservative.


Bikes, Blues & BBQ Revs Up Events Giveaways, Barbecue Contest Add New Flavors To Festival This article was published on Saturday, September 8, 2007 4:05 PM CDT in Our Town By Marla Hinkle THE MORNING NEWS FAYETTEVILLE -- People notice them. Businesses want them. Sponsors are proud to be a part of them.

The eighth annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ is expected to bring 300,000 plus bikers to Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas as part of a four-day festival.

Nelson Driver, event coordinator, said several new attractions have been added. They include:

* People's Choice barbecue tasting in addition to the Arkansas National Bank Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned barbecue championship.

* Three factory-direct semi tractor-trailers showcasing all Harley-Davidson/Buell, Kawasaki and Yamaha company products.

* 2007 Honda Metropolitan Scooter giveaway worth $2,500 donated by Heartland Honda Powerhouse in Springdale.

* 2007 Harley-Davidson Street Glide giveaway worth $19,000 donated by Cycle Connection. It comes with a $2,000 custom pin-striping job by legend Mike Robins of O's Custom Paints in Memphis, Tenn.

* Handmade Gibson "Blues King" acoustic guitar giveaway worth more than $2,000 donated by Janet Davis Music of Bella Vista.

* Gibson Guitar Bus and Trailer featuring dozens of Gibson acoustic guitars, mandolins, dobros and banjos.

Community support includes the following:

* Free parking and bottled water for motorcyclists at Central United Methodist Church of Fayetteville.

* Official Bikes, Blues & BBQ campgrounds of the Washington County Fairgrounds.

* A daily $5 Biker Breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. at any of the five senior centers in Elkins, Farmington, Fayetteville and Springdale.

Driver and other organizers, including Greg Mack of TaylorMack Advertising, joked about the "Please ride quietly" signs when asked about excessive noise levels.

"Someone stole all the signs last year and they are probably in someone's garage right now," Mack said.

Driver added that the event is not something that should alarm residents.

"This is a family festival and the board of directors will maintain that, or there will be not be an event."

Proceeds from the festival are contributed to more than 30 charities in the two-county area, including the Donald W. Reynolds Boys & Girls Club in Fayetteville. It has generated more than $275,000 for Benton County and Washington County charities since 2005.

Business owners have demonstrated support by agreeing to sponsor the event. Many special activities would not be possible without the donations, Mack said.

So far, organizers count 120 sponsors and are still accepting applications.

Although it's impossible to release exact numbers, Driver said the festival is in the top five motorcycle rallies. Top rallies include Daytona, Sturgis and Laconia.

Driver recently traveled to Laconia, N.H., for the Motorcycle Week there, which is in its 84th year and 30 to 40 percent larger than Bikes, Blues and BBQ.

Motorcycle companies are impressed with the Northwest Arkansas event because of the diverse crowd it attracts, Driver said.

"Harley Davidson likes to come here because it's not just Harley customers out there. There are several people who don't even own bikes, so there are a lot of potential customers out there," Mack said.

Residents also cater to bikers and rent their houses out for the festival. Mack has rented his house and said the guests left it cleaner than it was before.

Driver said he doesn't fear the event running out of room, although measures have been taken to ease traffic. The parade route has been changed to begin at the stage and end at the track in a continuous loop.

Most events will take place around the track and Dickson Street, but several regional businesses will host special events like the Pied Piper Pub & Inn in Eureka Springs.

"Let's face it. People don't come to motorcycle rallies to park their bikes and walk. They come to ride," Driver said.


The eighth annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ will be Oct. 3-6. More than 200 vendors will be showcased at the Randal Tyson Track Center area. The event's main focus will be the Track Center, the site for the barbecue tasting, Arkansas National Bank Financial Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned BBQ State Championship, the Stokes Air Battle of the Bikes, factory direct trailers, stunt riders and the starting point for the RSC Rental Equipment Company Parade of Power.

Dickson Street will be the site for giveaways at the Best Western Main Stage in the Coors Light Beer Garden.

For more information, contact Nelson Driver, event coordinator, at 527-9993, Liz Boch at 409-7682 or visit the Web site at www.bikesbluesandbbq.org.

Source: Bikes Blues & BBQ

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations jeff@mrf.org (e-mail)
HIPAA Call to Action

With Congress poised to return today from a sleepy month off fromWashington, it's a great time to call or e-mail your federal legislators and remind them to support HR 1076 and S 616, the two pieces oflegislation filed on behalf of motorcyclists to fix the discriminatory loopholes in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These two pieces of legislation are currently sitting in committee before both bodies of Congress. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) encourages you to contact your Senators and Representatives this week.
The HIPAA loophole mentioned above allows employer-sponsored health insurance plans to deny payments for particular injuries that stem from any risky recreational behavior. Another wrinkle is that the employer can determine what behaviors they want to define as risky. Some have refused payment of hospital bills for injuries as common as sprained ankles resulting from jogging. And although it is a legal form of transportation subject to taxes, tolls and licensing fees, for some reason motorcycling is specifically mentioned in HIPAA as a hazardous recreational activity.

Support for HR 1076 and S 616 has been growing recently, and we have the State Motorcyclists' Rights Groups (SMROs) to thank. Grassroots activism on this issue has been growing, and this spring saw a swell of SMROs visiting Washington DC to lobby for this issue directly. A quick glance of the congressional supporters reveals that those states that visited DC are responsible for the bulk of the co-sponsors on the House bill.

Writing, phoning and e-mailing your elected officials is important, but of course nothing drives an issue home better than a face-to-face visit with your elected officials. Can't make it to Washington? Not enough vacation time or extra cash for airfare? Why not schedule a visit with your federal elected officials on their home turf in their district offices. If you can't meet directly with an official, ask to meet with an aide.

Not sure what to say when you contact your legislator? There is a wealth of information about this issue on the MRF website going back several years, and you can always call the MRF office in DC to discuss federal motorcyclists' rights issues before meeting with a legislator. And of course, you should also contact your SMRO for guidance and assistance before visiting your legislators.

Congress is flipping over the closed sign and resuming business this week, so make it a point to contact your legislators in the very near future. They have a lengthy (for Washington) work period with no more formal breaks until target adjournment at the end of October. With continuing support from motorcyclists and SMROs nationwide, as well as our partners in DC, we can get this discriminatory loophole fixed.

You can reach the US Captiol Switchboard and your Member of Congress at 202 224 3121.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NHTSA Fabricating Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

Fabricating Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes
by Warren Woodward, Chair, State Legislative Committee
Street Bikers United Hawaii

Recent Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: An Update ( http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/Rpts/2006/810606.pdf ) is 72 pages of charts and analysis from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) based on the 10 years from 1995 to 2004. It should have been called Fabricating Trends in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes. Here's why:

Cherry Picking - NHTSA is cherry picking data. In the opening summary, motorcycle fatalities are presented as a crisis: "Since 1997 motorcycle rider fatalities have increased 89%." Wow, sounds bad, but over the years I have received many solicitations from investment newsletters. As a result I've learned how easy it is to pick certain time frames to make profits look good. It's called cherry picking and it's what NHTSA is doing here. Go back 15 years, since 1990, and fatalities have only increased 24%. If you go back 25 years, from 1980 to 2004, the fatalities actually decrease 22%. From the graph below of yearly rider fatalities you can see what I mean:

So instead of starting out the report with a horrifying 89% increase in fatalities, NHTSA could have begun by saying that since 1980 motorcycle fatalities have dropped 22%. But then there's no crisis, and we wouldn't need to be saved, or at least not by them.

Helmets - A chart on page 36 of the report shows that the helmet use rate in fatal crashes was basically unchanged over the 10 years, 1995 to 2004. If helmets "save lives", shouldn't more of the dead be helmetless, especially as fatalities rose 89%? Yet helmeted riders consistently comprise the dead majority at around 54% of fatalities every year. Of course that doesn't stop NHTSA from calling for mandatory helmet laws.

Ultimately, the helmet numbers are useless because they do not reflect anything except how many were wearing and how many were not at time of death. NHTSA might as well have a chart showing how many riders were or were not wearing wristwatches. How can anyone tell if a helmet would have helped or not? Just because someone died without a helmet does not mean they would have lived with a helmet. And how many of the helmeted dead had snapped necks or basal skull fracture? NHTSA doesn't say.

A similar trick was played here in Hawaii just recently by the state Department of Transportation. They emphasized that two thirds of the riders who died in Hawaii last year were not wearing helmets. Of course the implication is that had they been wearing helmets they would not be dead. But we don't know that. The fact is that helmets have not changed the death to accident ratio in any state where they have been mandated ( see Helmet Law Facts at http://www.sbumaui.org/ ).

I think fatalities went up over the 10 years for the same reason they went down over the 25 years. And if you find that reason be sure and tell me. My point is there is no one reason. All I know is the more experience and training a rider has the better, but even that won't save you when you're time is up.

VMT - Much of the report is simply invalid since it is based on NHTSA's fictitious Vehicle Miles Traveled. In NHTSA's National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety they actually admit: "Unfortunately, vehicle miles of travel (VMT) data for motorcycles are not reported directly and must be estimated." Fabricated would be a more accurate word than estimated ( see addendum 2, Helmet Law Facts, at http://www.sbumaui.org/ ). When it comes to VMT, NHTSA is winging it.

Speed & Alcohol - According to NHTSA, over the 10 years, speed related deaths decreased 6% and alcohol related deaths decreased 8%. That's great, but I always question the accuracy of those numbers. For example, we had a rider here on Maui cross the double yellow line while going up Haleakala. Cars coming down the other way are usually doing at least 60. The Maui News said the accident may have been speed related. Sorry, from where I sit it was intelligence related (and he was wearing a helmet).

Engine Displacement - One of the more troubling aspects of the report is NHTSA's fixation on engine displacement. There are 23 different charts, almost 1/3 of the report's total charts, concerning engine displacement and fatalities--engine displacement and speed, engine displacement and type of crash, engine displacement and type of road, there's even one that compares engine displacement with the days people died!

We all know that motorcycle engine displacement has increased over the years and that a 750, for example, is no longer a "big bike". Somehow though, a popular myth is being created, and NHTSA is fueling it, that increased displacement = increased fatality, especially amongst inexperienced riders. Having got into plenty of accidents when I was uneducated and inexperienced on my first bike which displaced 175cc, I have never bought into this myth.

There is so much more to a motorcycle than displacement. Power to weight ratio has a lot more to do with speed. There are plenty of 600cc rockets that can smoke a bagger with more than twice that displacement. Weight, seat height, rider position, center of gravity, tires, braking capability, and rider experience all play a role in how well a machine can be handled. Yet NHTSA has not figured out how to quantify those so they are not part of the mix. And NHTSA will never be able to quantify karma.

Looking long term, I see NHTSA's displacement fixation leading to a push for graduated licensing whereby riders would be prohibited from owning larger displacement bikes until they passed certain exams over a certain number of years. Outrageous? It's already happening in Europe. NHTSA is laying the groundwork now--creating the problem by cherry picking the displacement data--and the solution will be a graduated license system. I'd bet on it.

Blame the Rider - The undercurrent running throughout NHTSA's report is blame the rider. We are either too young, too old, too fast, too drunk, or the motor's too big. Certainly riders do die because of one or a combination of those. However, there are 75 charts in this 72 page report and not one showing rider fatalities caused by the Right Of Way violations of other road users.

NHTSA is as blind as a Right Of Way violator. What's worse is that, as taxpayers, we pay their undeserved salaries

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Noise Issues

Laws to muffle bikes create confusion, worry
Daytona Beach News-Journal, FL - Cities from New York to Denver are giving motorcyclists the silent treatment. And that worries riders rights groups, which fear that a wave of ordinances aimed at muffling Harley-Davidsons, hushing Hondas and stifling Suzukis will create a confusing patchwork of laws that motorcyclists won't be able to navigate. The motorcycle industry is concerned it could turn these frustrated riders away.

"From our perspective, this creates enormous problems for us because people notice the one motorcycle that makes a lot of noise," said Bill Wood, spokesman for the American Motorcyclist Association. "They don't notice the 50 that pass that don't."
Ordinances come in many forms. Some are against certain types of products -- like mufflers that would rattle the apples off of trees -- while others are aimed more on the intent of the driver, who may want to turn some heads or rile up the neighbors on a Sunday afternoon.

· The Florida Highway Patrol pulls bikers over "when we can hear it" 25 feet or more away, said spokeswoman Lt. Kim Miller. Also, it's against the law to drive any vehicle that has had an exhaust system altered it to make it louder, she said.

· In Daytona Beach a city ordinance prohibits operating "any noise-creating device for the purpose of drawing attention to the source of the noise."

· As of July 1, riders in New York City are subject to a minimum $440 fine for having a muffler or exhaust system that can be heard within 200 feet.

· In Lancaster, Pa., riders -- and all motor vehicle drivers -- could be ticketed for drawing attention to themselves, whether by creating too much noise by revving their engines or doing hard accelerations. Tickets start at $150.

· Motorcyclists in Denver can be ticketed $500 for putting mufflers on their bikes made by someone other than the original manufacturer, if the bike is 25 years old or less. These so-called after-market products can be louder than their manufacturer-made counterparts.

The changes leave riders confused, said Pamela Amette, vice president of the Motorcycle Industry Council, the industry's trade group. Enforcement can be subjective, too. The Council is working with the American Society of Engineers to establish a sound test that would help equalize enforcement.

If receiving information such as the above article daily directly to your email interests you, then sign up for the only international motorcycling ezine *bikerbits* and be kept informed with what's going on in the motorcycling world.

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Confirm the link you receive, and you'll be able to receive the newsletter.Confirm the link you receive, and you'll be able to receive the newsletter.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Southern Thunder Rally a Success Despit Heatwave

The Southern Thunder rally endured scorching temps with a high of 105 on Friday and close to it on Saturday but bikers are tough and ready to party! The crowd Friday night was much larger than last year and both Rockin' Foot Clutch and TKO rocked the house after the local electric coop came out and put a new transformer on the pole, quite a show in itself.

Saturday was more heat and more fun with some great competition in both the bike show and the rodeo games. Bikers rolled through the gate all day and into the early evening and by nightfall, the campground area was full of tents in every direction and the RV field was humming with the sound of 40 generators kickin' out the watts to run the BTUs.

As the sun set the bands fired up and MYTH rocked hard! Over a dozen guys answered the call for the boxer shorts contest and after lots of fun, a young US Army soldier form Fort Campbell won it! The wet t-shirt contest ended up being the "what" T-shirt contest as they didn't even wait for the shirts. The ladies started peeling the swimsuits and more, and the music came up for some serious bumping and grinding. It was hard to decide the winner as our two finalists each got huge ovations. IN the end, the young lady that won it was the one with all the personality!

Stacie Collins (www.staciecollins.com) tok the stage around 10:30 and proceeded to tear it up for a solid 90 minutes. IN addition to regular guitarist Warner Hodges, Dan Baird of the GA Satellites (and Stacie's Producer) joined her for an outstanding dual guitar attack! What a show!

Thanks to Pastor Ron of the Covenant Confirmers MM for the Sunday morning blesings as
he brought the church to the rally!

Thanks to all who came out to the party for the cause, Freedom in Tennessee. This rally supports the operation of the CMT/ABATE state office and our efforts in the legislative and safety areas.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Southern Thunder Rally 8/24-26

I'm off to the Southern Thunder Rally this weekend and hope you will all join me! This rally is presented by CMT/ABATE's charters in Nashville and Springfield to benefit the organization. The funds raised help keep the lights on at the office and generally contribute to the general operation of CMT/ABATE, Tennessee's State Motorcyclists Rights organization.

The weekend's fun includes biker rodeo games like barrel racing, slow ride, weenie bite and tire drag plus many other contests. I hope to beat the heat by taking a plunge or several in the dunk tank.. come out and knock me in! Each night I'll groove to some great music with the following;
Friday: Rockin' Foot Clutch at 7PM and TKO around 9.
Saturday: MYTH opens the show at 7 and Stacie Collins featuring Earner Hodges on guitar will take the stage around 9:30

Other activities include a bike show sponsored by Appleton HD, merch vendors, food and beer and discounted canoe trips on the Red River (provided there's enough water).

Where? Red River Campground on Hwy 41, just north of Adams TN and ten minutes from Springfield. Gates open at noon on Friday, $25 includes rough camping.

Questions- milo62@earthlink.net

Friday, August 17, 2007


THE AIM/NCOM MOTORCYCLE E-NEWS SERVICE is brought to you by Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) and the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM), and is sponsored by the Law Offices of Richard M. Lester. For more information, call us at 1-(800) ON-A-BIKE or visit us on our website at http://www.on-a-bike.com/.

Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish,
National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM)

BIKERS RALLY TO SAVE SAFETY FUNDING When word got out that the US House of Representatives was considering a transportation appropriations bill in late July, and an amendment to eliminate funding for motorcycle safety funds was being proposed, the biker community rallied to the call and succeeded in saving $6 million in grant money provided to 44 states for motorcycle safety programs.

After being reminded by scores of concerned riders across the country that saving lives is more important than saving a few dollars, the amendment by Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling was never introduced and the Section 2010 motorcycle safety funds remained intact as the $104.4 billion dollar FY2008 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill (HR 3074) went on to pass by a vote of 268-153.

TRAFFIC DEATHS REACH HISTORIC LOWS, WHILE MOTORCYCLE FATALITIES CLIMB Declining traffic deaths has lead to the lowest highway fatality rate ever recorded, announced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of people who died on the nationÂ’s roads fell by 868 deaths last year, the largest drop in total fatalities in 15 years; representing a 2% decline that contributed to the historic low fatality rate of 1.42 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), reported U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters.

But while total highway deaths fell from 43,510 in 2005 to 42,642 in 2006, the lowest level in five years, motorcycle fatalities continued to escalate for the ninth consecutive year following a decade of steadily declining fatality rates. Data from NHTSAÂ’s 2006 Annual Assessment of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities and Injuries shows that 4,810 motorcyclists were killed on AmericaÂ’s roadways last year, an increase of 5.1 percent over 2005. Motorcycle rider fatalities now account for 11 percent of total fatalities, exceeding the number of pedestrian fatalities for the first time since NHTSA began collecting fatal motor vehicle crash data in 1975.

Many blame the increase on the rise in popularity of motorcycles, with states experiencing record numbers of registrations and dealers selling record numbers of new bikes year after year for over a decade. Other experts cite the aging ridership, bigger bikes, changing traffic mix, miles traveled and other factors.

A comprehensive study into the causation of traffic accidents involving motorcycles is expected to begin later this year at the Oklahoma Transportation Center at Oklahoma State University, the first such motorcycle-crash study since the Hurt Report in 1980.

The National Transportation Safety Board conducted a motorcycle safety forum late last year to explore safety concerns in that sector of transportation.

While driving has never been safer in the U.S., internationally the United States ranks 42nd of 48 countries measured in the number of highway fatalities per capita. And although the fatality rate has plummeted since 1970, when the U.S. led the world in road safety with the lowest death rate among industrialized countries reporting data, it now ranks 11th in fatalities per distance driven.

Safety experts say the reasons are many. Bella Dinh-Zarr, the North American director of Make Roads Safe, a nonprofit organization based in London, said other countries have stricter laws, better enforcement, more accessible public transportation, greater awareness, public support and more rigorous training and licensing standards.

But expert after expert said the real problem was one of culture. With personal freedom being a cornerstone of the United States, many states are loath to pass legislation that curtails them, even when it comes to road safety. So while the governments of other countries can easily pass laws to make driving safer, like a national ban on hand-held cellphone use, those laws here are left up to the states to impose, and that is often not so easy. Fred Wegman, managing director of the National Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands, said attitudes were different in Europe. There, he said, safety is not just about the individual, but is the responsibility of society as a whole. “European countries fundamentally pay more political attention to road safety,” he said.

HELMETS DONÂ’T SAVE LOUISIANA MOTORCYCLISTS Despite passing a mandatory helmet law in 2004, motorcycle fatalities in Louisiana are on a record pace and on course for one of the worst totals in the country, Highway Safety Commission executive director James Champagne told attendees at a safety summit in Baton Rouge.

The summit, produced by the Louisiana Motorcyclist Safety and Awareness Committee and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission was convened to decrease the number of motorcycle fatalities and injuries in Louisiana. Achieving that goal is urgent.

Champagne told summit attendees that more motorcycle fatalities are projected for this year in Louisiana than in any other year in the state's history. If the trend continues, we will have not only the state's worst year, but also one of the worst totals in the country.

At the Louisiana summit, safety officials pinpointed reasons for the alarming increase in motorcycle fatalities. One is lack of professional training. Champagne says training should be required before a cycle owner or rider can apply for a license.

Ultimately, according to Champagne, almost all the factors that contribute to the problem can be reduced by new legislation, enforcement of existing laws - and mandated education.

LOUD PIPES TICKET DISMISSED The first and only ticket that police have issued to a motorcyclist under Denver's controversial new noise ordinance has been dismissed. Attorney Wade Eldridge, himself a biker, challenged the law on behalf of his client, Stuart Sacks, who was pulled over in LoDo and ticketed for having an "unlawful modified muffler," records show.

"The officer neither inspected his bike to see if it had the stamp nor did he use a sound meter," Eldridge said. "So the most they would have had was the officer's gut feeling that it was too loud, which is not enough."

Designed to curb motorcycle noise, the controversial new ordinance took effect July 1st and limits noise levels to 82 decibels from a distance of 25 feet, and requires motorcyclists with bikes made after 1982 to have a muffler with an EPA noise-certification stamp.

Eldridge, who is the Aid to Injured Motorcyclists (A.I.M.) Attorney for Colorado and legal counsel for the Confederation of Clubs of Colorado, also claims the noise ordinance is unconstitutionally vague. The law "lends itself to arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement," he told the Rocky Mountain News. "The police can stop you for whatever reason."

Eldridge said the law leaves enforcement up to the "unfettered discretion of the individual officer," adding that his client was told he was stopped because his pipes were too loud.

Police Capt. Eric Rubin, who used to head the Traffic Operations Bureau, didn't know the details of that stop but said officers are using their training and experience in the field "as reasonable suspicion to briefly stop the rider" and check for the EPA stamp.

But the city's decision to drop the case highlighted a fundamental flaw in the law - Denver police aren't equipped with the $1,000 noise monitors needed to make the charge stick, said Eldridge, adding that, "In any case in which it's properly challenged, the city has an impossible burden." The reason Assistant City Attorney April Snook cited in her motion to dismiss the case was the city was "unable to prove charge beyond a reasonable doubt."

Ellen Dumm, spokeswoman for the city's Environmental Health Department, said an "oversight" caused the case to be dismissed. "The police officer did not inspect the pipes for the required (Environmental Protection Agency) sticker," she said, adding that the dismissal was a "one-time" thing and that the ordinance's enforcement will result in quieter streets.

Eldridge points out that even police bikes may be louder than DenverÂ’s allowable limits. According to court documents, tests conducted by the city on police motorcycles found sound levels at redline of 81.3 decibels and 81.7 decibels, and since the accuracy of the sound meters the city used is within plus or minus .5 decibels, police motorcycles may be in violation of the new noise law, Eldridge said.

PATCH BAN AT STURGIS BAR SPURS BOYCOTT, POSSIBLE LEGISLATION A beef with Hells Angels could inspire legislation to protect wearing motorcycle-club “colors,” a state legislator told Rapid City Journal columnist Bill Harlan during Sturgis Bike Week. One-Eyed Jacks saloon on Main Street was boycotted during the rally because it is the only bar in town that bans motorcycle club insignia, and they even barred South Dakota State Representative Jim Putnam from entering while wearing the colors of his own dangerous motorcycle club, the Lawmakers.

“If this persists, I’ll consider it,” said Rep. Putnam, R-Armour, who sometimes wears a Sturgis motorcycle rally necktie during the legislative session. “Putt” is not only a long-time motorcyclist himself, but is also a long-serving member of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists Legislative Task Force (NCOM-LTF), and anti-biker discrimination legislation is on their agenda.

Putnam added that legislation protecting motorcycle attire passed the state House in the early 1990s. It failed in the Senate, he said, but a similar Minnesota law has survived court challenges.

Now, Putnam supports a boycott of the saloon. “I’m not going in there,” he told the Journal. But One-Eyed Jack's owner Ray Gold is just as adamant about keeping his new ban on “back patches,” which he told the newspaper is to keep out the Hells Angels, whose Sturgis headquarters is near the bar.

But the ban on patches also angered Louis Nobs of Hibbing, Minn., who was barred entry wearing his Soldiers for Jesus colors. “You can’t ban patches for just one group,” he said. “If you ban them for motorcyclists you have to ban them for bowling teams, the Knights of Columbus -- everyone.”

Nobs is on the board of the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, and he helped distribute 60,000 fliers calling for the boycott.

ChiPS STAR NEVER GOT MOTORCYCLE LICENSE TV biker cop Erik Estrada has revealed he never passed his motorcycle test. Estrada played California Highway Patrol motorcycle cop Ponch in 1970s hit CHiPs, reports The Sun.

But he never actually had a motorcycle license for real. Estrada, now 58, had to hurriedly arrange a bike test when he was assigned to the California Highway Patrol for a new reality TV show.

And it took him three attempts to pass before he could appear on “Back To The Grind”, a show that gets actors to try their TV jobs.

WEIRD NEWS: A motorcycle was once plucked out of the Los Angeles sewer system. It's the largest object ever found in there!

QUOTABLE QUOTE: “Knowledge is power (Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est).”Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) English statesman and philosopher

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

True Biker Story

In the News-Tribune, Editor/Publisher Rebecca Tudley writes this true story.

“The way my friend told it, this guy pushed his motorcycle from the patio into his living room where he began to clean the engine with some rags and a bowl of gasoline. When he finished, he sat on the motorcycle and decided to start it to make sure everything was still Ok.

Unfortunately the bike started in gear and crashed through the glass patio door with him still clinging to the handlebars. His wife came running at the noise and found him crumpled on the patio badly cut from shards of broken glass. She called 911 and the paramedics transported the guy to the emergency room.

Later that afternoon after many stitches had pulled her husband back together, the wife brought him home and put him to bed. She cleaned up the mess in the living room and dumped the bowl of gasoline in the toilet. Shortly thereafter, her husband woke up, lit a cigarette and went into the bathroom. He sat down and tossed the cigarette into the toilet which promptly exploded because the wife had not flushed the gasoline away. The explosion blew the man through the bathroom door. The wife heard the explosion and her husband screams. She ran into the hall and found him lying on the floor with his trousers blown away and burns on his buttocks. The wife again ran to the phone and called for an ambulance.

The same 2 paramedics were dispatched to the scene. They loaded the husband on the stretcher and began carrying him to the street. One of them asked the wife how the injury had occurred. When told them, they began laughing so hard that they dropped the stretcher and broke the guy’s collarbone”. Talk about instant Karma….

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Who's Your Nanny?

Remarks of Judith Lee Stone
President of Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety And Member of the Advisory Board of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running
Monday, August 6, 2007
Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the annual motor vehicle fatality toll for 2006 that indicates minor overall improvement over 2005, but the total number of fatalities last year – 42,642 -- is still one of the largest in the last decade.
The small decrease clearly represents neither steady nor sustained progress toward addressing the number one killer of all Americans between the ages of 4 and 34.

I see two major ironies in these numbers, related to today’s topic: First, the number of deaths, and the death rate -- 1.42 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled – still leave the U.S. lagging behind other industrialized nations throughout the world.

Within a few days of NHTSA’s announcement, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Transport Forum reported that the U.S. ranks 42nd out of 48 countries in motor vehicle deaths, based on number of fatalities per capita. The OECD report shows that Australia, Britain, France, Germany and Japan dramatically outperformed the U.S. in deaths per capita, and when measuring lowest death rates by miles driven, the U.S. ranked only 11th.

Our low global ranking may come as a surprise to some. The second irony that occurs to me is that most of the countries that do better than the U.S. in getting a handle on this major public health problem have been benefiting from wide use of automated enforcement, usually without public opposition, for decades. So we shouldn’t be surprised they do better than we do. Why wouldn’t governments struggling to contain costs and looking for effective ways to protect families choose readily-available technologies that lead to safer roads and neighborhoods, and why wouldn’t they see the results of their actions in the bottom line?

If you knew there was a proven technological application that would cure a lifethreatening disease diagnosed by your doctor, would you settle for anything less in the hospital?
In this country, we know the solutions to reducing highway deaths and injuries but it seems we are often lacking the political leadership to enact the necessary laws and regulations to do so. We need to construct a much better safety policy infrastructure that is then vigorously enforced, if we want sizeable reductions in the annual motor vehicle crash and fatality picture.

With photo enforcement now being used in a majority of states and over 200 localities, there may be an assumption that the U.S. is implementing this technology as effectively as possible. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and there is a need for federal leadership and positive guidance to the states.

Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have enabling legislation to permit and define how photo enforcement should be used. And, only three states have passed such legislation in recent years. Despite overwhelming evidence of the effectiveness of photo enforcement to combat red light running and speeding both here and abroad, there has been very little encouragement to our state legislatures for taking such action from the federal level.

Growth in the use of automated enforcement has come almost entirely from communities – having already appealed to state representatives, but unwilling to wait any longer – that have proceeded with implementing programs without state authorization. These systems are working well throughout the nation, reducing crashes, deaths and injuries. Automated enforcement is predictably effective and a proven highway safety vaccine.

The majority of Americans agree that enforcement on our roadways is too lax.
Poll after poll, including surveys conducted for my own organization by Lou Harris starting nearly 10 years ago, indicate high levels of support for automated enforcement to stop red light running and speeding. The politicians and other government leaders need not worry about a backlash.

As a member of the Advisory Board of the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running and the President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, I want to commend this report, Focus on Safety, and am glad it is being sent to the National Surface Transportation Commission. I urge the Commission to stress the importance of state enabling legislation by recommending in their report to Congress that states adopt such legislation to authorize the use of photo enforcement for red light running and speeding. While every American community may not need or choose to use automated enforcement, it should be an option that is available at the determination of law enforcement and traffic control experts in each jurisdiction throughout the country.

Thank you.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pop a Wheelie - Pay BIGGGG!

State cracks down on biker wheelies (Chattanooga Times Free-Press/Hill)
Motorcyclists who ride on one wheel on Tennessee's public roads or in areas frequented by the public now can be cited for reckless driving. A state law that went into effect July 1 opens the way for a misdemeanor change for driving a motorcycle with the front tire intentionally raised off the ground. "I had talked to Judge Clarence Shattuck in Chattanooga, who had to dismiss a ticket because it wasn't a part of reckless driving (legislation)," Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, said. "That's what prompted the bill." Rep. Dean, who owns a motorcycle and is a former Chattanooga police officer, and Sen. Dewayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, sponsored the bill "It's not only a danger to the rider but to others on the roads," he said. "I'll argue with any rider that even if you're trained, you can't have control on a roadway if you're doing a wheelie. Even on two wheels, if you hit a patch of gravel, it can throw you off your bike." Chattanooga motorcyclist Christopher Cavin, 23, said he thinks the reckless driving charge is too harsh. "If there's no traffic, I don't see the problem if you know what you're doing," he said. "If you're in traffic and doing wheelies in and out of cars, that is reckless."http://www.timesfreepress.com/absolutenm/templates/local.aspx?articleid=18822&zoneid=77

Tuesday, July 24, 2007



The Tennessee Senate passed the current helmet bill to allow adults 21 and over the right to choose. The bill is currently in the House Finance Committee to be heard by the Budget Subcommittee when they return in January of 2008. Below are the committee members who have NOT agreed to vote in favor of HB1283. Call their local office number or their Nashville office. Ask them to support and Co-Sponsor HB 1283.

Speaker Jimmy Naifeh – Covington 901 476-9593 or 615 741-3774
Lois DeBerry – Memphis - Speaker ProTem 901 743-1133 or 615 741-3830
Craig Fitzhugh – Chairman (Finance) Ripley 731 772-8978 or 716 741-2134
Harry Tindell – Chairman of (Budget) Knoxville 865 524-7200 or 615 741-2031
Joe Armstrong – Knoxville 865 532-6374 or 615 741-0768
Nathan Vaughn – Knoxville 615 741-6867
Bill Dunn – Knoxville 865 687-4904 or 615 741-1721
Doug Overbey – Maryville 865 681-8236 or 615 741-0981
Jason Mumpower – Bristol 423 989-3234 or 615 741-2050
Dennis Roach – Rutledge 865 828-4356 or 615 741-2534
Gary Odom – Nashville 615 356-5096 or 615 741-4110
Janis Sontany – Nashville 615 741-6861
Charles Sargent – Franklin 615 771-7222 or 615 741-6808
John Hood – Murfreesboro 615 893-4651 615 741-7849
Kent Coleman – Murfreesboro – 615 741-6829
Stratton Bone – Lebanon 615 444-1717or 615 741-7085
Rob Briley – East Nashville 615 741-2184
Charles Curtiss – Sparta 931 761-2765 or 615 741-1963
Tommie Brown, Ms., - Chattanooga – 615 741-4374
Johnny Shaw – Bolivar 731 658-8925 or 615 741-4538
Phillip Pinion – Union City 731 885-9175 or 615 741-0718
Larry Miller – Memphis 901 272-7884 or 615 741-4453

The following should be urged to continue their strong support of freedom and HB1283.
Steve McDaniels – Parkers Crossroads 731 968-7883 or 615 741-0750 (Co-Sponsor)
Michael Harrison – Rogersville 615 741-7480 (Co-Sponsor)
Randy Rinks – Pickwick Dam – 731 925-3985 or 615 741-2007
Harry Brooks – Knoxville – 615 741-6879 (Co-Sponsor)
Beth Harwell – Nashville 615 385-0357 or 615 741-0709 (Co-Sponsor)
Mark Maddox – Dresden 731 364-2685 or 615 741-7847

The best discussion you can have with your representative is face to face. Call and make an appointment to see them in your district. Let them know that you are in favor of HB 1283 and that you would appreciate their support. This issue is not about helmets, it is about a law mandating helmets under the threat of fines and jail time! Adults should have the freedom to choose!

Questions? Call Mike Hays – Legislative Director CMT/ABATE 615 469-2567 legislative@cmtabate.com